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Panthers RG Miller on COVID list, out for Week 1

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers starting right guard John Miller went on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list Monday and has been ruled out for Sunday’s opener against the New York Jets.

Dennis Daley, who started two games at right guard last season, will replace Miller as the starter Sunday. Rookie Deonte Brown, a sixth-round pick out of Alabama, is next up.

The Panthers, under NFL guidelines, cannot say whether a player tested positive for COVID-19. But an unvaccinated player who tests positive must be out for at least 10 days, and coach Matt Rhule said Miller will be out for 10 days.

Rhule said last week that only two members of the roster remained unvaccinated.

Rhule consistently has said Daley was among the top six linemen on the roster, so to call on him now isn’t a concern.

“I’m really comfortable with Dennis,” Rhule said. “I feel like he should be starting. He has the skill set of a starter. He’s just had some bumps along the way … some good, some bad. He had the birth of a child, which is wonderful. Just some different things that have caused him to miss some things.”

Daley started nine games at left tackle as a rookie out of South Carolina in 2019 due to injuries, but he got some tips on how to play guard from then-Panthers Pro Bowl right guard Trai Turner. He started three games — two at right guard, one at left tackle — last season.

He began transitioning full-time to guard this offseason. He was first up in training camp when Miller was injured in a joint practice against the Baltimore Ravens. He played the whole first half of the exhibition opener against Baltimore.

“He can settle down this week and know that he’s the right guard,” Rhule said. “He’s got tremendous power. He’s got quickness. He’s got length. He should play really well.”

Daley took a week off from camp after his daughter, Charlie, was born on Aug. 9. But he kept up with the playbook. He said he felt prepared when Rhule turned to him after Miller went on the COVID-19 list.

The Panthers have been fortunate to not lose many players to the COVID-19 list during camp, but Rhule said it’s something he thinks about all the time.

“I’m concerned about COVID just in general,” Rhule said. “I’m concerned about the teachers, hospital workers. I’m concerned about my family and players’ families.

“With us, we’re highly vaccinated. We’ve done a good job of guys taking care of themselves. We know it’s something we have to deal with. You can’t control the results, but you can control the process.”

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